The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Greatest Evil

Not at all conscipuous

The great thing about being an American is watching our great country have one of its epic freak outs, take a complex problem and make it infinitely worse. You see, we Americans have a habit of thinking we're helping when really, we're not. There are few examples more prominent than the War on Drugs.

In 1971, Richard Nixon declared "drug abuse" public enemy number one, drug enforcement than increased under the Reagan administration where Nancy Reagan made it her pet cause, and this continued under the George H.W. Bush administration... and it was around this time that the "Just Say No" campaign became truly prevalent. Police officers would visit schools to lecture and lie to kids about the dangers of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol; and the commercials on TV where kids were taught that they weren't chickens and pot dealers were turkeys. The most infamous anti-drug PSA had to be "Cartoon All Stars To the Rescue" where every single popular cartoon character on Saturday morning came together to rescue a kid named Michael from the evil clutches of Mary Jane.

But we're not here to talk about "Cartoon All Stars To the Rescue". No. You see, what we're here to discuss was produced and aired roughly ten years before America's next great freak out... the War on Terrorism. I'm going to ask you a question. Do you think the United States armed forces would ever ally themselves with Osama bin Laden to take out a drug lord? Oh sure, we allied with Osama to push the Commies out of Afghanistan during the Cold War, but that's a whole other freak out and this blog entry is only big enough for two. But would Colin Powell ever stand on an aircraft carrier with Osama bin Laden to lead their forces in a raid on Pablo Escobar's compound in Columbia?

Well, Duke and Cobra Commander once did exactly that. That's right, kids, today we're here to talk about another one of those animated propaganda pieces designed to program you to vote against legalizing medical marijuana as an adult. That time G.I. Joe, which is the code name for America's daring highly trained special mission force, put aside defending human freedom from Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world, put aside their differences with said ruthless terrorist organization to do battle with... THE GREATEST EVIL!

Before I proceed any further, "G.I Joe" like "Transformers" was based on a popular toy line, and was advertised on TV by a hit cartoon produced by Sunbow. Those old cartoons were clunky and corny, but had a charm to them that made them entertaining. "The Greatest Evil" was not produced by Sunbow. It was produced by DiC, the most hated company in the animation industry. Their episodes lacked any semblance of the previous series' charm, as most of their animated output was always very half-assed. DiC was almost single-handedly responsible for the fall of television animation by the late eighties.

To quote animation producer, Buzz Dixon:

"They ferociously underbid competitors (going so far as to lose money on shows just to deny competitors a chance to do them) and they ferociously oversold their stock to investors (projecting an ever increasing number of kids’ shows on the air when even a basic market analysis would have shown the market to be flooded; I have learned not to be in awe of stock market investors’ alleged intelligence because of this). This led to a collapse of the syndication market for kids."

The rest of that interview can be found here.

With all that over, I can continue an analysis of this two-parter while also bringing up the socio-economic ramifications of the War on Drugs, the lives ruined through mass incarceration, and that, quite frankly, Marijuana and most controlled substances should just be legalized and overseen by the FDA. But no, this two-parter doesn't deserve that kind of dignity. Instead, I intend to light up a joint and mock the crap out of... "THE GREATEST EVIL"... Hey, good news, Satan, it's no longer you...

We open in a really bad, run down neighborhood in a major metropolitan area.You know the type, I believe Red Forman tried to kill RoboCop in one of these. A small army of the most conspicuous looking drug dealers are gathered in a street exchanging their little bags of magic dust (er, drugs) from lots of people. Out in the open. Where anyone and everyone can see them...

... you know, when I was in High School and I wanted to buy some pot, if we met in a public place, there'd be one handshake where cash was exchanged and then, fifteen minutes to a half hour later, a second handshake where a dime bag was given back. It wasn't supposed to be conspicuous. But who am I to argue with Bob Forward? He wrote "Beast Wars" and I loved that show. 

In front of the tall and very crummy looking building, obviously the headquarters for these drug pushers, a girl in her late teens or early twenties is begging for something stronger from one of the dealers... it takes her a whole month's pay to stay high for one night. The dealer tells her "tough shit" before his boss, a drug lord called the Headman cuts in and decides to give her a free sample of their newest product called SPARK!!!!! As this deal is about to go down, an angry mob rushes into the streets and chases the drug dealers back to their headquarters shouting things like "NO MORE SELLING DRUGS TO KIDS!" The Headman activates the buildings defenses and laser rifles pop out of garbage cans, the windows, the works... the angry mob is pushed back as the Headman laughs manically.

"You people must be fools to try and interfere with me! I  am above the law!
I rule this block! I rule this city! And soon, with my drugs, I will rule your lives!
I am the Headman! And the Headman reigns supreme!
Heheheheeheh... Ah Ha ha ha ha ha! HAW HAW HAW!!!"
- Actual Dialogue

Wow, and that was just the teaser, and this is a two-part episode. This is going to hurt.

We open at the Joe base where Lieutenant Falcon... oh no. Not him. Not Lieutenant Falcon. If he's going to be the protagonist of this story, we're in for some really deep hurting. Time for a little bit of history. Lt. Falcon is the younger half-brother of Duke (G.I. Joe's most boring leader). How he became an officer is still unknown, except he was a constant screw up in the 1987 animated "G.I. Joe the Movie" where he engaged in acts of insubordination, abandoning his post, sexual harassment (really!), allowing the enemy to rescue the captured Cobra Emperor, Serpentor (don't worry, Serpy's not in this... he's long gone), which all culminated in Serpentor throwing a live snake through Duke's heart and killing him... er, I mean putting him into a coma. Duke's only alive because kids all over the country had a collective epic freak out about the death of Optimus Prime and Sunbow, at the last minute dubbed in a line about Duke going into a coma and at the end, a line about how he came out of his coma.

See what you did, Falcon?

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, Falcon is up late, cleaning his gun when Mutt comes in, places a friendly hand on his shoulder, startling Falcon who then drops his bottle shattering it on the floor. Mutt apologizes but Falcon continues his epic freak out. The alarm sounds and the Joes are summoned to battle Cobra who are engaging in another one of their many acts of mischief. As Falcon boards his helicopter he pulls a bag from his pocket and says it's "time for a little pick me up." Okay, Lt. Falcon is on drugs... this reveal is somehow more surprising than Hillary Clinton announcing she was running for President last summer.

I should also interject now and say that the vehicles on display are really stupid looking. This was late into the franchise when the absurdity was enhanced. Don't get me wrong, G.I. Joe was always weird and corny, but a lot of this is just plain stupid.

As they approach an airfield, Cobra is breaking into a plane. Falcon ejects from his helicopter to go after one of their henchmen, causing Duke to cry out "has Falcon gone nuts?" Um, no Duke, I'd say this is pretty standard behavior for Lt. Remedial.

As the battle goes on, a Crimson Guard in his own chopper receives a call from the Baroness who addresses him as "Crimson Guard Number #1" (whom I will refer to as #1 from here on out) and informs him that there's an urgent message from the hospital that something has happened to his sister, Cindi.

The henchman Falcon was chasing attempts escape by some kind of one-man gyro-copter... I don't know what to call it... and Falcon grabs onto him by the leg and in mid air, blasts the tail of the thing, causing Duke to call him an idiot as the copter goes down and crashes into the airport's baggage department. Falcon gives chase again in a go-cart (yes...) but Cobra escapes and Falcon manages to crash the thing and injure himself. Duke pulls Falcon from the debris and orders his men to let Cobra go so they can help the rescue teams, then blames Falcon for screwing up. All and all, a very typical day for Lt. Falcon. Back at the base, Duke dresses Falcon down causing Falcon to throw a tantrum, then storm out of Duke's office to take a hit of SPARK!!!!!

Meanwhile, at the hospital, #1 is visiting his sister, Cindi, in the hospital (in full Crimson Guard regalia!). Turns out Cindi was the girl the Headman gave a free sample of SPARK!!!!! to, earlier. She suffered from a drug overdose. #1 demands to know where she got the drugs, and Cindi tells him about the Headman.

"More and more, everyone pays the Headman! 
Everyone needs the Headman!
And for a very good reason! They can't help it!
- Actual Dialogue

It's going to be hard to not post this guy's dialogue, it's hilariously bad.

Back at Joe Headquarters, Falcon is shivering as he attempts another hit, but he drops his bag on the ground as Duke walks in. Duke grabs the bag, and realizes what should have been apparent to him since the early 80's. His baby brother is on drugs. Duke has his own epic freak out and kicks Falcon out of the Joes and disowns him.

Before we proceed any further, I would just like to point out right now that when Duke found out his half-brother was sick, an addict, he freaked out on him and disowned him. While earlier a Crimson Guard, an elite member of Cobra, upon finding out his sister was on drugs immediately set out to help her. And prior to that, while said Crimson Guard was in the middle of a mission, the Baroness called him to let him know there was a family emergency... and the Baroness is supposedly a dangerous sociopath. Now we know that there's more familial compassion in Cobra the Enemy than there is in G.I. Joe. And knowing is half the battle.

Anyway, after Duke storms off, another Joe... I have no idea what his name is... offers to hear Falcon out. Falcon wanted to be a better Joe, so when he learned about a new drug called SPARK!!!!! it sounded like what he'd need... but no one ever said Falcon was smart. The sob story, it helped him at first, then he became dependent on it. The other Joe says he was a drug addict as a kid but he had family that loved him and helped him recover... but all Falcon has is his big brother, blond-haired, blue-eyed, Nazi poster boy... Duke. Honestly, I think they deserve each other.

Back at the hospital, Cindi goes into a coma and might never come out (and without having a live snake thrown through her heart). #1 has an epic freak out and storms out to his helicopter where he and Duke have an encounter and engage in an air battle... that fast turns into an air collision. They both ride a parachute down and agree to a truce... then Duke starts venting about how pissed he is at Falcon and his drug habit; seeing common ground, #1 says he's in the same boat. Duke bellows that the Joes could swat the Headman like a fly if Cobra wasn't keeping them busy... um... does the United States have any other branch of the armed services or law enforcement that can do this? #1 says that if Cobra didn't have to worry about G.I. Joe, they could crush the Headman... the better question is would Cobra Commander care? Duke then asks the best question of all "So the only thing standing between us and the Headman's downfall is each other?" #1 proposes extending the truce as drugs are a bigger enemy to fight. Duke agrees and says they'll need all their forces to fight the Headman and proposes a team up with Cobra. #1 agrees to try and convince Cobra Commander.

Sigh... I need to go here. Take it away, Optimus Prime... 

This sums up exactly why D.A.R.E. and all the "Just Say No" propaganda was so stupid. Where does all of Cobra's equipment come from? That's actually always been a plot point, Destro and his M.A.R.S. corporation are Cobra's weapons suppliers. How does Cobra pay for it? Yes, I know they have legitimate business fronts, but.... Cobra would be selling drugs, not fighting them! Terrorist organizations have been involved with the drug trade. The Taliban has branches that sell heroin to fund their reign of terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan! And Cobra, really... "We're an evil terrorist organization based on murder and fascism, bent on world conquest and subjugation, but at least we aren't drug dealers!"

But, I suppose that propaganda had to work on some kids. During my time in the "Gargoyles" fandom, I remember someone asking if mob boss, Tony Dracon, was "evil enough to sell drugs". The guy ran protection rackets, sold guns on the street, chop shops. Yeah, "Gargoyles" didn't dive into it but I'm sure that's where most of Dracon's income came from. And the person that asked me that, I'm sure he had seen this episode.

#1 proposes this alliance to Cobra Commander, and displaying some rare common sense, CC rejects the idea as stupid. #1 counters by reminding Cobra Commander that drugs are big business and the Headman would have accumulated piles and piles of cash. They'd let the Joes do the hard work while Cobra takes the cash. Sadly, this is the only scene in the entire affair that even comes close to making sense. It falls apart when you're reminded that Cobra should be the ones selling this shit and profiting off of it, but at this point I'm just grateful that I don't have to listen to Cobra Commander of all people monologue about the evils of drugs... I guess D.A.R.E. didn't get to him.

Back at Joe Headquarters, that Joe from before (who I now know is named Bulletproof) informs Duke that Falcon checked into the hospital and suggests Duke go see him. Duke, again displaying far less compassion than the Baroness, calls Falcon a disgrace to the Joes and his family... and just storms off again... he calls a meeting of the Joes where he informs them that G.I. Joe is entering the War on Drugs, but they'll need help so instead of joining forces with the D.E.A., they're joining forces with Cobra. Naturally, the rest of the Joes call bullshit on this but Duke puts his fist down declaring this team up is officially an order. Bulletproof stands up and makes a speech about how, as far as G.I. Joe is concerned, drugs are the world's greatest evil.... sorry, Lucifer.... it's still not you.

Where the hell is General Hawk in all of this? I doubt he'd let this shit fly.

G.I. Joe and Cobra meet on an open field, and while both sides shoot snide remarks at each other, Duke and Cobra Commander agree the best solution is two-person teams between one Joe and one Cobra to keep an eye on each other, and instead of determining the best teams by comparing personnel files, specialties, etc. Duke and Cobra Commander decide to pick names out of a hat.

"You will work with your lab partner and you will like it!"

We only get three official teams. Duke and Cobra Commander team up. Bulletproof and Metalhead team up (ugh, I forgot all about Metalhead... and I wish I didn't have to be reminded), and Mutt (and his dog, Junkyard) team up with the Baroness (remember, this sociopath is more compassionate than Duke). I'm sure wacky hi-jinks will ensue. Or not, maybe shenanigans.

On authority of the unnamed city's mayor (who can run an election as being strong on the military while being accused of being weak on terrorism), Jobra (hey, how's that for a celebrity couple name?) attacks the Headman's headquarters. We get a standard action scene where both sides stand around shooting lasers at each other. While this happens, the Headman is in a moutain factory smack dab in the middle of the desert where he rambles on about how he will flood the world with SPARK!!!!! when he is informed of Jobra's attack on his headquarters. So the Headman sends his goons to the hospital where they abduct Falcon and Cindi.

#1 and a Joe called Shockwave (sadly not the cycloptic Decepticon) are sent in, where #1 plots to grab the money once the Headman is nailed. Duke and Cobra Commander's plane is hit and our, um... "heroes?" are in peril as it begins to crash and we get the dreaded TO BE CONTINUED followed by this screen.

I think I'm going to go smoke a joint before I dive into part two. I need it.

Duke and Cobra Commander bail out before their plane crashes into a building, and you can tell this was pre-9/11 because the building is undamaged. As this happens in the desert, Falcon and Cindi are brought to the Headman's factory

All while inside, #1 appears to betray Shockwave to the Headman's goons, but uses it as an excuse to get the drop on them... I'll buy #1's actions, he'd hate the Headman over his sister's overdose, but that doesn't justify anything else about this stupid alliance. But, oh ho, the Headman's money is an even bigger priority than Cindi. Because... COBRA!!!!!!!!! Shockwave and #1 destroy the building and the Headman's goons are captured. But it's all for nought as Duke learns that Falcon and Cindi were captured.

We return to the Headman's factory where the Headman decides to recruit Falcon instead of keeping him as a hostage. This is a wonderful thing, as it gives me another Headman monologue to transcribe... and voice actor, Scott McNeil, with his evil Silverbolt voice, keeps on managing to end each sentence with an exclamation point.

"How about joining my team, after all what have you got to back to!
Disgrace! A brother who doesn't care! Pain! Withdrawal! It's agony isn't it!
But I... I can give you power! Luxury! Money! And what you need most of all!
Take it! I know you're hurting! If you join my team you can take all you want!
Anytime! What do you say!
- Actual Dialogue

Falcon backhands the bags of SPARK!!!!! from the Headman's hand and, this is a line I need to transcribe also... "What do I say? I JUST SAY NO you disgusting piece of slime!" Congratulations, Lieutenant Falcon, you've earned the respect of all the other, better, Saturday morning cartoon characters.

"I'm not a chicken, you're a turkey!"

Falcon clocks the Headman, grabs Cindi and makes a run for it.

Mutt and the Baroness are searching through the remains of the Headman's urban headquarters and thus begins a running joke where Baroness can't bring herself to bother to remember Mutt's name. Right now she's calling him "Rover". It could be worse, Mutt... at least it's not Duke. She orders Mutt around at which point he declares that he's not her servant, and has an actually good comeback. "Certainly not, I demand much higher standards from my servants and more obedience from my dogs." Oh, Baroness... I'll be your servant any time.

Yes, I know this is Sunbow and not DiC, but I don't care, Sunbow drew her better.

As Jobra fails to interrogate the Headman's goons (because the Joes are forcing Cobra to abide by the Geneva Convention), Falcon manages to call Duke on his Dick Tracy watch, where Falcon begs Duke to bail him out one last time for Cindi's sake. Duke agrees and begins tracing the call, but not without getting a dig in... because he's a worse person than the Baroness. Shockwave traces the call as the Headman's goons (called Headhunters) ax their way into the radio room. Duke again uses the word "EVIL" to describe SPARK!!!!! as Falcon and Cindi escape into the factory.

We're about to enter the final act now. Falcon and Cindi are evading the Headhunters in the factory. Jobra is about to attack, and the Headman continues to exclamation point at the screen! Let's finish this!

Bulletproof and Metalhead argue about how to properly use ammo, and Metalhead... ugh, kill me, I can't stand this guy. Where's Baroness? Oh yeah, on a copter with Mutt and Junkyard, and now she's calling him "Bowser". The Baroness demonstrates why she's still one of the few competent people and despite the snide remarks, with Mutt's strategy, she takes out most of the Headman's defenses. I apologize, but I'm not going to snark on the Baroness... she's pretty much the only bright spot in this two-part propaganda spectacle.

Falcon steals a blaster from a Headhunter and drags Cindi into the Headman's vault where, well, Cobra Commander would have a boner to be in there with all that cash and, truthfully, so would I. They spot the Headman's secret escape hatch, but instead of escaping, Cindi has an idea.

Meanwhile, the Headman begins his own epic freak out as he pulls out his own hidden stash of SPARK!!!!! and breaks the number one rule of any competent drug lord, never use your own product. Is he going to overdose? I hope not, after all this, I might end up missing his liberal usage of exclamation points.

Jobra breaks into the factory and confronts the Headman in his office where he's laughing like a maniac and his face has turned red. He makes a run for it, being pursued by both sides of Jobra. Well, except for Cobra Commander who is tearing the Headman's office apart searching for his money.

-Actual Dialogue

Jobra chases the Headman into the heart of his factory where he grabs a hose and plans to douse them all with a lethal overdose of SPARK!!!!!

"At least I can depend on my drugs to stand by me!
A curse on all of you, you ruined my business! But now it's your turn!
Prepare for a lethal overdose, you meddling fools!
I can see the headlines now: G.I. Joe and Cobra overdose on SPARK!!!!!
When I deal with clients like you, it's not suicide!
-Actual Dialogue

Falcon and Cindi rush the Headman, and tackle him... in the process he gets blasted by his own hose and practically drowns in SPARK!!!!!

See, drugs aren't evil. They just killed a bad guy.

The Headman stumbles over and collapses into a control panel as Cobra Commander walks in calls an end to the truce now that the Headman is dead, and I don't need to type Jobra anymore. #1 invites Cindi to join him in Cobra, but Cindi would rather go to rehab. #1 sighs and joins Cobra Commander in searching for Headman's loot. Duke just casually muses that things are back to normal.

The Headman briefly regains consciousness, and reminds G.I. Joe that he reigns supreme, and even on his last drawn out, agonizing breaths, he manages to exclamation point. He hits the self destruct button before becoming the first and only character in the entire history of G.I Joe's television tenure to collapse dead on screen... I guess it's allowed when selling propaganda to children.

The Joes evacuate and Duke, deciding he wants to be a better person than the Baroness, lets Falcon lead the way out. Meanwhile, Cobra finds the vault where Cobra Commander is ecstatic and claims that they're rich... which I would assume he already was considering he runs a para-military terrorist group, but what do I know? The mountain explodes after the Joes escape as Cobra Commander flies over in his helicopter, mocking the Joes by waving a bag of money at them... the bag even has a cartoon dollar sign on it.

Duke and Falcon reconcile and Falcon is welcomed back into the Joes, but Falcon insists on going back to the hospital with Cindi and then rehab... well, if this is anything like the Falcon I remember, I think he has other ideas about Cindi. Cindi also points out that they took the Headman's cash from the vault earlier, and they want to donate his drug money to drug recovery programs. Which causes Duke to wonder what Cobra Commander made off with.

I had this same look in my eyes while watching much of this.

Turns out that Cobra Commander stole sacks of shredded newspaper, and throws one of his legendary temper tantrums. Baroness watches, turns to #1 and says she's "starting to miss young Bowser already".

The Joes head home as the camera pans away where we see the Headman's dead arm sticking out of the rubble.

Followed immedietely by an edit so sudden, it's like being hit by a truck:

It was like being hit in the head with a sledgehammer... and then, as if all that just wasn't quite enough, we get a voice over by Bulletproof telling us to not take any medicine unless given to you by your parents or doctor.  But what if your parents are junkies?

I won't lie to you all, this was a rough one to get through. I enjoy myself some "G.I. Joe", I have a fondness for the original Sunbow run of episodes, they were entertaining and charming like the original Transformers cartoon often was. And Larry Hama's "G.I. Joe" comic book was actually really cool, as is his current continuation of it over at IDW. But these were the DiC seasons, and they were neither cool nor charming. Yes, Sunbow had the infamous PSAs, but this was a PSA stretched out over forty-four minutes. It was a propaganda piece, pure and simple. And it's hilarious in an ironic way, but propaganda like this probably did more to hurt their message than they did to help it. I'm sure Bob Forward's heart was in the right place even as he was handed a laughably stupid premise. Could it have been done better? Sure, but not by DiC. Make the Headman an agent of Cobra in charge of dealing drugs which are then funneled into the organization's terrorism, and the premise is immediately improved. But I suppose, given the political environment at the time, Hasbro didn't want their iconic and, let's face it, very entertaining villain, Cobra Commander to be a drug lord. In which case, you relegate it to a series of thirty second PSAs at the end of the episodes and call it a day.

So what is the greatest evil? I think I'm going to lay that title at the feet of epic freak outs, mob mentalities, moral superiority, etc. Propaganda like this pushes that, and we as a society need to learn to keep our cool, step back, and figure out sensible solutions to problems large and small. Just say no to epic freak outs. Now we know... and knowing is half the battle. G.I. JOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. I've stayed away from drugs all my life and don't think I care to ever do them, but it was due to proper education and common sense, not any bullshit propaganda specials or PSAs I saw on TV. Trying to teach kids that drugs aren't good is one thing, but telling them that drugs are "the greatest evil" is downright insulting.

    And there was another 80's cartoon from DIC called "COPS" that, I kid you not, did literally the exact same thing as this by deeming drug dealing "The Lowest Crime", but unlike Cobra Commander in this special, the usual bad guy of this show, the Big Boss, actually DID take a moral stance against drugs in the episode. It starts at 5:56 right here -

    Yes, you just heard that - a MOB BOSS is against drugs because "drugs kill". Like criminal syndicates DON'T?

    1. That was painful. And to add injury to insult, that mob boss had the most annoying voice I've ever heard.

    2. The voice actor, Len Carlson, is deceased now, but for some reason he seemed to be paid to do annoying voices often. This guy was actually the first ever voice for the Green Goblin in the 1960's cartoons. Yeah, that guy. But due to the awful voice, awful delivery, awful line, and awful context, I am shocked that "DRUGS KILL!" hasn't gone memetic in places on the internet.

    3. I mean, one could cite "The Godfather" since Vito Corleone didn't want to get involved in narcotics at first, and even when he did, it was under the stipulation that he didn't want it sold to kids... anyone else was fair game, but not kids. That was at least believable, and he wasn't written as a propaganda mouth piece.

      That scene with Big Boss on the other hand...

  2. A long read but a good read! Anyone who is old enough to have remembered cartoons in the 80's and 90's certainly always had at least one anti-drug PSA episode thrown at them. As a kid I always found them boring and stiff, and as an adult I often find them hypocritical and dated. Many times because many "heroes" use "outside substances" as fuel for their powers, they just call them different.

    Captain America was pumped full of steroids and zapped with radiation to become a super soldier. Only since he's a hero, it's called a "super soldier serum" and "vita-rays" (unlike Bane, who is a villain, so his "venom" isn't a serum). Cap once famously had an anti-drug comic (where drugs were literally sold by aliens). What about Hank Pym, Janet Van Dyne, anyone who uses "Pym particles"? Oh, using a plant that grows on earth is a drug, but using a "particle" that exists in another dimension (which has angry monsters in it who sometimes attack and kill people, like Jan's dad) is fine? How about all those characters who use "nanobots" to "duplicate powers" after 2006's Civil War comic? Heck, in the Golden Age DC Comics had a hero called "Hourman" whose gimmick was using a steroid (sorry, "serum") that he concocted called "Miraculo" which gave him super powers for 1 hour at a time. If memory serves, this version of him popped up in group shots here and there in Justice League Unlimited. As did the Creeper, another hero brought to you by the power of drugs (who Batman warned to quit, but apparently after winged aliens occupied the planet and trashed his Batcave, all bets were off).

    Off the top of my head, one example I remember was an episode of "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe"'s first season where a friend of Teela's becomes addicted to a potion that a wizard makes for her that temporarily boosts her courage and athleticism, but makes her feel weak and addictive afterward. Clearly, an Eternian drug dealer, and in the ending PSA He-Man makes sure to tell us that taking an outside substance to boost yourself physically is wrong and dangerous. Unless, presumably, that outside substance is a sword, and instead of drinking or injecting it, you just have to say a haiku. But that wasn't nearly as funny as another PSA after a time travel episode where He-Man dismisses time travel as "make believe".

    I remember an episode of Inspector Gadget where Dr. Claw spikes Gadget's coffee before a race and the good Inspector is the happiest drunk you ever saw. Thankfully, I don't recall the PSA being as blunt (and Inspector Gadget of all people really should not be giving anyone advice).

    Freaking out seems to be part of American DNA, and evolving past that is a work in progress at best.

    1. To be fair DC comics DID eventually retcon Hourman (Rick and Rex) into a cautionary tale in terms of the source of their powers.

  3. Ah yes, DiC. The biggest saps who gave Sailor Moon a bad name. It astounds me people still defend their English dub. Gratuitous slang up the ying-yang!

    Oh poor Scott McNeil, he deserved better than such a gig. Well, he did afterwards with Beast Wars but he often finds himself in crap.

    But no way, the dialogue you typed in, that was for real? No, I refuse to believe the dialogue was actually written that way.

  4. I'm so glad you're back to doing these cartoon reviews a little more often. I hope you're personal schedule will allow you to do plenty more this year.


    1. I should have more time, we'll see. I have a definite retro review planned as we get closer to the release of "X-Men: Apocalypse" this summer. But there might be some before that. I like to be eclectic with my reviews.

    2. And this two-parter was just begging for it.